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Remarks at a Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for the Renovated James S. Brady Press Briefing Room and an Exchange With Reporters

July 11, 2007

The President. Thank you very much. Yes, thanks. I like a good, short introduction. [Laughter]

Q. [Inaudible]

The President. Yes. [Laughter] After all, it is your room. Yes. [Laughter] Welcome back to the West Wing. We missed you— sort of. [Laughter] I can already tell this place has improved. The last time I was in here to hold a press conference, I broke out into a sweat, not because of your questions but because of the climate. The air-conditioner seems to work well. I hope the facility is—suits your needs. I really do.

The relationship between the President and the press is a unique relationship, and it's a necessary relationship. I enjoy it. I hope you do. As I say, sometimes you don't like the decisions I make, and sometimes I don't like the way you write about the decisions. But nevertheless, it's a really important part of our process. And the fact that you were working in substandard conditions just wasn't right. It really wasn't.

And so my White House worked with Steve and Ann, worked with Mark Smith to get it right. And I think it's going to benefit future Presidents and future White House press corps to be working in modern conditions, conditions where a fellow like me will feel comfortable coming in here answering a few questions without losing 20 pounds. [Laughter]

It was really hot in here. As a matter of fact, I can't imagine how Snow could handle it on a regular basis. But now it's modern, and it's going to enable you to do a better job. And I'm glad that's the case.

I want to thank Peter Doherty. Where is he? Yes, Peter, thanks for working hard here. You get a lot of credit for making sure this thing works. And one of these days Laura and I are looking forward to coming and actually see what it's like working here. I've never toured—I've never even been able to get beyond the podium—[laughter]—if you know what I mean. As a matter of fact, I've always felt comfortable behind the podium in front of you, kind of as a shield. [Laughter] But I would like a tour.

Q. Bulletproof——

The President. Well, it's not exactly bulletproof. Some of your bullets are able to— verbal bullets—[laughter]—are able to penetrate. But you've been around a long time, see; you know what it's like to query Presidents. You've been—you're kind of an older fellow. [Laughter]

Q. [Inaudible]

The President. Yes, proudly so. Thanks for the birthday greeting too. I appreciate that thoughtful gesture.

But anyway, we're glad to join you for this ribbon-cutting, and we thank you very much for working with Hagin and the bunch to make sure this thing—deal works. And it's going to. And it's going to make your life better, and frankly, it's going to make the lives of future Presidents better as well. And so it's a good contribution that you all have left behind. And we're glad to have been a part of it. And so——

White House Press Pool

Q. What, do you think I'm going to ask a question?

The President. Yes. I do think you're going to ask me a question, yes. [Laughter]

Q. I am. [Laughter]

The President. Well, maybe some other time.

Q. Oh, but do you think you open——

The President. See what I'm saying? [Laughter]

Q. You can't come to the press room, especially a modern press room——

The President. Wait a minute, let's do this—let me cut the ribbon and——

Q. You think anything has changed?

The President. Let me cut the ribbon— are you going to cut it with me, Steve— and then why don't you all yell simultaneously? [Laughter] Like, really loudly— [laughter]—and that way you might get noticed.

Q. It doesn't sound like you're going to answer——

The President. No, I will. I'll, like, listen——

Q. And leave?

The President. ——internalize, play like I'm going to answer the question, and then smile at you and just say, gosh—[laughter]—thanks, thanks for such a solid, sound question.

Okay, here we go. Ready? I'm going to cut the ribbon. [Laughter] Then, would you—no, then you yell. I cogitate—and then smile and wave. [Laughter]

Ready? Are you going to come, Laura? Here we go.

[At this point, the President cut the ribbon.]

Q. [Inaudible]

The President. Brilliant question.

Q. [Inaudible]—cogitating that, right?

The President. Thank you all. See you soon.

Q. We look forward to seeing you come and do a little Q & A——

The President. I will see you soon. Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 8:05 a.m. In his remarks, he referred to Steve Scully, president, Ann Compton, vice president, and Mark Smith, former president, White House Correspondents Association; and Peter Doherty, facilities and equipment manager, ABC News.

George W. Bush, Remarks at a Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for the Renovated James S. Brady Press Briefing Room and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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